Confab: Nigeria Should Act Local But Think Global,Says Comrade Aremu



Aremu2013Vice President of Nigerian Labour Congress,NLC, Comrade Issa Aremu has advocated that Nigeria must live up to expectations as a regional power and act to prevent conflicts on the African continent.Aremu made this assertion while making his contribution during the discussion of President Goodluck Jonathan’s address at the on-going National Conference in Abuja.
Issa said: “I agree that patriotism should guide our deliberations. However we must also be pan African and global in our perspective. Nigeria cannot be at peace when the rest Africa is at war and kneck deep in avoidable conflicts. So also if Nigeria is not at peace with itself, Africa can hardly prosper. We are natural leaders of the African continent. Why should Sudan break into pieces and CAR be in turmoil while we stand and look?. The French cannot be policing our continent as they have done in Ivory Coast, Mali and Central African Republic among others?
“Nigeria must live up to the expectation as a regional moral power and work to prevent all these avoidable conflicts on our continent. We should work for a united Nigeria as much as we must work for a United States of Africa in line with the vision of our founding fathers of Africa like late Nnamdi Azikwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Nelson Mandela. Nigeria cannot afford the luxury of being insular. We must think global and act global.
Read Aremu’s intervention below:
POINTS OF INTERVENTION
INTRODUCTION
I am Comrade Issa Aremu mni a labour delegate. I join other distinguished delegates to acknowledge the significance of the President’s speech. I fully appreciate his call for inclusiveness, oneness and unity of the nation. The NLC I represent values the principle of Unity. An injury to one is an injury to all is our valued slogan. Our solidarity song says the Union makes us strong. A Nigerian proverb says; Sticks in a bundle cannot be broken”.
UNITY IN DIVERSITY
There are of course problems and governance challenges in Nigeria. But we must also recognize that we have also made some considerable progress in nation building. One of the gains of Nigeria is unity in diversity.
LET US CELEBRATE OUR HEROES AND HEROINES
Mr Chairman, we must go beyond colonial history. This great union called Nigeria is certainly older than 100 years! The first official trade union (Nigeria Civil Service Union) was formed in 1912 two years before the amalgamation efforts. The great Nnamdi Azikiwe was born on November 16, 1904, in Zungeru, present day Niger state. That was 10 years well before Lugard’s amalgamation in 1914. I suggest we should give even more credit to the founding fathers and mothers of Nigeria such as Herbert Samuel Heelas Macaulay a Nigerian (nationalist, politician, engineer, journalist, and musician) who eventually died in Kano in 1946, Nnamdi Azikwe, Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Magarete Ekpu. They are the true architects of modern Nigeria not colonial masters like Lord Lugard who only formalized the reality he met. I agree with President Jonathan on page 21 that we must .”..”jettison the poisonous mind-sets of the past, which were built on unhealthy competition”.
NIGERIA MUST FACE UP TO DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
Today the world is divided into rich and poor nations. Nigeria must strive to be counted among the rich nations through productivity to overcome poverty. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 112.519 million Nigerians of the country’s estimated 179 million population live in relative poverty conditions. Nigeria’s 112million poor are four times the 22 million population of Uganda and 8 times population of Zambian Republic.
STOP UNEMPLOYMENT THROUGH INDUSTRIALIZATION
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment tragedy shows that all states and six (6) geo-political zones are united by unemployment and underemployment. There is no “Muslim” or “Christian” unemployed! There are Nigerian unemployed. Okada riding is not a decent Sustainable job. Selling orbit chew or recharge cards is not a sustainable job.
SUSTAINABLE JOBS
The best sustainable jobs that can pay minimum wages and pensions are industrial jobs. UNIDO just released the report that as many as 550 million are employed in industry world wide. Industrialization and value additions are the only ways to sustainable development.
We must rise from this conference to urgently re-industrialize the country. With apology to the great African writer, late Chinua Achebe, there was once a country that had good things including industries. One of these industries was UNTL. In 1995 when in full production UNTL employed 10,000 direct jobs twice the Immigration 4,500 vacancies. UNTL employed thousands not through stampede and deaths of applicants that characterized limited public employment vacancies of late.
NIGERIA SHOULD ACT LOCAL BUT THINK GLOBAL
I agree that patriotism should guide our deliberations. However we must also be pan African and global in our perspective. Nigeria cannot be at peace when the rest Africa is at war and kneck deep in avoidable conflicts. So also if Nigeria is not at peace with itself, Africa can hardly prosper. We are natural leaders of the African continent. Why should Sudan break into pieces and CAR be in turmoil while we stand and look?. The French cannot be policing our continent as they have done in Ivory Coast, Mali and Central African Republic among others?
Nigeria must live up to the expectation as a regional moral power and work to prevent all these avoidable conflicts on our continent. We should work for a united Nigeria as much as we must work for a United States of Africa in line with the vision of our founding fathers of Africa like late Nnamdi Azikwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Sekou Toure and Nelson Mandela. Nigeria cannot afford the luxury of being insular. We must think global and act global. Thanks Mr Chairman.
Comrade Issa Aremu mni

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